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27 Essential Online Tools For

Fitness Professionals

Growing a fitness business is tough. Steely tough as a famous Kerry man used to say.


Taking early morning classes, one on one coaching, creating programs, managing staff, keeping the cash right, keeping the bills paid, keeping members happy, attracting new members…really the list goes on. I see it all the time with my fitness clients. 12-14 hour days are the norm.


With that in mind I compiled a list of tools which will help you manage and market your business in a smarter way. Even if you use just one of the tools below and it frees up one hour a week or pulls in one more member for you…it will be worth the time.


Enjoy!


P.S. As a matter of full transparency - some of the tools I recommend below may contain an affiliate link. That means I get a small payment should you decide to go ahead and purchase any of them. But, it's not why I endorse them, rather it's because I use them everyday in my business and with clients and I think they are worth your time and attention.

Listen, there’s only one show in town when it comes to web development and that’s wordpress. It’s easy to use, hugely powerful, integrates with just about every other software out there and google and wordpress are best friends so it will help you rank higher. You should go for the wordpress.org version rather than wordpress.com. Usually it’s a simple one click install to get wordpress uploaded to your host account. Don’t know how to do it? Get someone on fiverr.com to do it for $5.


Other platforms you’re likely to hear about are wix, weebly and squarespace. Most of the time the problem with these options is the limited functionality you will have in the future if you need to make changes or add extra features to your site.

Website Platform - Use Wordpress

Website Builders – Use Beaverbuilder.com


If you are intent on going the DIY route for your website, you’ll need a page builder for your website. I have used tons of page builders over the years and the two I keep coming back to are Beaverbuilder.com and Enfold.


My preference at the time of writing is Enfold because it is super fast, very responsive and has an intuitive user experience. Not to mention you can create beautiful web pages. However if you are just starting out, Beaverbuilder has more themes and is a little less complex to set up. Plus you can set up unlimited websites with their licence.

Landing Pages – Use Instapage.com

So what's the difference between a landing page and a website.


A landing page is just a page on your website with one specific goal. That could be to gather contact details or sell a membership. Typically, the purpose of a landing page in the fitness industry is to collect an email address so you can send more information to your prospect at a later stage.


Now why do you need to get a landing page builder when you have a website builder?


Well the answer just comes down to speed and conversions.


Starting from scratch to build a well optimized and proven to convert landing page could take days. Using something like Leadpages.net or Instapage.com reduces this time to a couple of hours. That’s because they have 100’s of templates to choose from and all you need to do is edit the text or headline and swap around a few images.


The three main players for this at the moment are Leadpages, Click Funnels and Instapage.


I actually use all 3 for different reasons.


Though if I could only use one, it would be Instapage. That’s because it is by far the fastest to use and has the most flexibility when it comes to design. Also it is only $29 per month compared to Leadpages which is $49 for the equivalent features. Click Funnels has more features but a heftier price tag at $97 per month.


After years of building fitness websites I have put together the "Top 7 Online Secrets" used by the most successful fitness professionals. You can download the book today for free.

I specialise in building "lead generation" websites for fitness professionals.

The kind of ones that create an automatic flow of new members and clients into your club or fitness studio.

Graphics – Use Youzign.com


Let’s face it, creating graphics for your website and Facebook page can be a time-suck. And if you need to pay a designer to jump in every 5 minutes, watch your profits slip through your fingers like powdery sand.


So here are a couple of tools that can have you looking like a design wizard in no time.


Canva.com and Youzign.com. Canva is free, youzign costs $57 at the time of writing. Youzign has just a few extra options to give it the edge like the ability to remove backgrounds and automatically sync your creatives with your wordpress site. Both are extremely simple to use and have lots of pre-made templates to work with.



I am not a fan of over using stock images. It will make your site look “templatey”. But I understand it’s not always easy to get your hands on high quality images.


Pixabay has some great images and best of all they are free to use. Another good low cost option is stockunlimited.com. Don’t be tempted to just willy nilly use images you find on google. It’s very easy for the owners of those images to see who else uses their “copy-write protected” images and they could send you a cease and desist letter with a chunky fine. Not what you want.


Best thing of all is just use your smart phone to take good quality images and video. But before you get all snap happy in the gym, read a blog or three about how to take good quality images. It will make a big difference to the end result and the impression you make with your audience.


Stock Images – Use Pixabay.com

I could probably list 50 plus tools in this section alone. Social media is one of the strongest marketing tools you have. However you can lose hour after hour of precious time in there. So that’s why you should automate the process as much as possible.


I use postcron. It costs $10 per month and it allows me to automatically schedule posts on facebook, twitter, google+, linkedin and instagram. You can bulk upload hundreds of message in one go and drip feed them to your pages. You can do the same on hootesuite for free but the reason I upgraded to postcron is it allows me to add images to my twitter posts.


Buffer is another useful tool worth checking out. Free to use also and a simple place to start.


Find content worth posting by using buzzsumo. This tool will show you what is trending and likely to get the highest engagement. Also check out hashtagify.me to find which hashtags are trending.


For some fun and shock factor use meme generator.


Social Media Tools – Use Postcron.com

Unless you’re Gary Vaynerchuck most of us have to accept there’s only about 10 worthwhile working hours in a day. Meaning, you have to be smart how you spend your time. Common sense suggests you stick to the things you are good at and hand off the rest to an expert. Pretty much every job, process, or activity which can be done on a computer can be outsourced. Get good at leveraging freelance talent and your productivity will skyrocket.


For small jobs which can be turned around quickly use Fiverr.com


For more serious longer term projects use peopleperhour.com


Outsourcing – Use Fiverr.com

The day of shoe-box receipts and multi coloured excel sheets to keep track of your accounts is long gone. If you find yourself still doing that, I guarantee you are wasting probably a few days a month on unnecessary work.


For goodness sake start using some simple accounting software.


The easiest one to begin with is waveapps.com and if you need some more advanced features, use xero.com. Waveapps is free and xero starts at $9 per month.


Both have a very handy mobile apps for tracking expenses so you never have to keep a receipt again.



Accounting - Use Waveapps.com

If you run workshops or one off events, just use eventbrite.com. It is easy to integrate into your website and set up the page itself. Also people are comfortable with using eventbrite and trust the platform. They will even do some of the marketing for you, among their millions of registered users.

Appointments – Use Setmore.com


If you’re selling your time via semi private or personal training you need to have a tool which allows you to share your calendar so users can book online. There are many tools for this. I like calendly.com and my favourite is setmore.com.


Setmore is free to use and even lets you take payment right within the platform for any bookings.


A goal without a plan is just a wish and I know you’re not in the business of wishing.


So it’s a good idea to find an effective way to create a plan and implement it.


If you’re a visual person you’ll love to use mind maps which can illustrate the flow and process of a plan. I even use it to plan out something as simple as writing this blog post.


For me Mindmeister is the best tool of all. Five minutes playing around with it will have you up and around and pretty soon, you’ll be able to see your entire business plan in one simple diagram.


But what good is a plan though without action?


The best tool I have found for listing my “to-dos” is called tomorrow.do. Free on android and the app store and it’s beautiful little tool for keeping me on track.

Planning – Use Mindmeister.com

Finally, my favourite tool of all is evernote.


Evernote is like having your brain right there on your computer. Every idea I come up with, every good tip I hear, every good quote I find, every good book I read gets uploaded and summarised in evernote and stored in a logical system where I can access later. I often find myself using the audio note taker when in the car or out and about.


Also they have a brilliant tool called web clipper which you can install on your computer and lets you easily save web pages, emails, pdfs, and images to a folder of your choice, essential if you’re doing any kind of research.

Research - Use Evernote.com

We all want to achieve more in a day. Yet do you ever stop to see where you are wasting most of your time? One of the biggest drags on time is email. How often do you check email a day? Recent surveys have estimated the average to be 64 times.


Also, ever find yourself wasting hours looking for documents, emails, files or correspondence. Frustrating isn’t it and totally unproductive.


Which I why I thoroughly recommend the following tools.


Use Slack to communicate with your team. This tool helps you set up individual projects for example creating new classes, and it lets you invite team members to easily communicate and track progress within this platform. There’s a built in call and instant messenger and you can easily save and share files. This takes important tasks and projects out of the email system making it much more productive.


Productivity – Use Slack.com

Organisation – Use Google Apps

The 3 apps I use everyday are


Google Drive – centralise all of your file storage on google drive. Much better and more intuitive that dropbox. You’ll never have to worry about losing important documents again, and you can access your info from any device anywhere.


Google Docs – I no longer use word or excel. I have replaced them with google docs. Because it lets me share documents with team members and not worry about duplicate versions. All updates are seamlessly recorded. And because everything is on the cloud, I can access the same document from anywhere.


Google Calendar – this is a must have tool. All of your appointment tools can be synced with google calendar and its notifications will mean you won’t ever miss an important meeting or task again.


Video is probably the most powerful way of delivering content to your audience and it works a treat in the fitness industry…just have a look at this site http://unitedfitness.com/ to see the impact. Be careful with the sound :)


But video production is expensive.


Thankfully it’s never been easier to knock out reasonable quality video. You just need a smart phone, a steady hand, good sound and lighting. One of the best resources to learn more about this is wistia.com. And it so happens they also have the best video hosting.


Obviously youtube is free and an automatic choice for most. However people will click to watch your video in youtube bringing them away from your site so it’s better to use wistia for your homepage videos.


The other thing you will need is a good video editor. Camtasia for windows and screenflow for mac are the market leaders. Alternatively grab someone of fiverr.com to do your video editing. Either way, use more of it in your biz.



Video – Use Wistia.com

I am not gonna get into why you should be building an email list and mailing to it regularly. If you are not doing it, you’re losing out on lots of members and sales period. And if you’re going to use email, you need an email service provider. Sending out lots of generic emails from your business email will flag your account as spam. Don’t do it that way.


So what are your options?


My preferred email service provider (sometimes called an “autoresponder”) is Get Response. They have high deliver-ability rates, meaning they get more emails into the primary inbox. They provide excellent value for money starting at $9 per month. And they have fantastic form and landing page builders which easily integrate with your website.


Honourable mention goes to Active Campaign which have some more advance features and automation included, like automatic segmentation. A bit like Infusionsoft (without the price tag).


Obviously one of the main reasons to be online in the first place to sell online.


Someone hits your website, sees some membership offers or products and can checkout there and then. You get paid without any hand holding.


So what do you need to make that happen?


First is a payment processor. You can use paypal and/or stripe.


Stripe is the new kid on the block but by far the easiest to use for both you and the customer.


It will allow you to take payment on the website and over the phone via credit card. You can set up recurring billing so your clients and members pay monthly like a direct debit but without the lengthy form filling.


To present products and services in a professional manner on your site I recommend using a proper shopping cart. For this I recommend woocommerce. It’s free to begin but has many powerful addons to power up your store. It even has a membership plugin which is perfect for selling gym memberships.

Selling Online – Use Stripe.com


If you’re still trying to manage your members with cobbled together excel sheets and diaries then I would bet you have to dedicate much of your week to this nightmare process.


I want to suggest 2 tools which will solve much of this hassle.


First up is Glofox.


I spent 1000’s of hours researching and testing countless different software tools trying to find a solution for managing memberships.


Glofox stand head and shoulders above the competition.


Why?


Because they have taken a very complex system and made it super simple for both you and your customer.


All interaction is conducted through your dedicated mobile app. Members can sign up in seconds and book a class in a few clicks. You have a very simple intuitive backend system where you can manage all your members. This app will manage members payments be they once off or monthly and you can even sell merchandise. It will all sync to your website so all actions can take place on the desktop or mobile. A full notifications system is built in so all the heavy lifting (exuse the pun) of keeping members engaged and renewed is done on the app.


You can check out the glofox app here. I have a full demo site and app which I can walk your through here. Finally I have a some special bonuses for any Glofox users so be sure to enquire directly with me at gareth@onlineliftoff.com for more information.


Membership management – Use Glofox.com

Do you find yourself or your team spend endless hours compiling personal training programs and nutrition plans. Everyone is different and needs that bespoke plan right! But what if there was a tool which had all this preloaded and all you needed to do was click a few buttons to prepare a program and deliver this to your client. And what if you could interact with that client over a closed platform where all progress is recorded and tracked.


Well now you can with a new app called mypthub.com


It’s free to try out for up to 2 clients and then a very reasonable €10 after that. Check out the amazing list of features on this tool here.



Personal Training Client Management – Use Mypthub.com


Managing 20 plus classes and several instructors each week is a full time job in itself. Some classes might struggle to get anyone turning up whilst others fill up leaving disappointed members resort to diy training.


Again this is where Glofox come to the rescue. Their timetable booking system means you can stay up to date with all class attendance and the customer has full visibility over what spaces are available for the week/day ahead. All within a convenient mobile app.




Timetable Management – Use Glofox.com



Facebook Ads is the number one tool you can use to generate fresh leads for your business. And the formula is simple. Create a facebook ad to send traffic to your landing page which has a very specific objective. Track how many convert. If it's profitable. Rinse and repeat. That's marketing 101 for fitness clubs and it doesn't need to get any more complicated than that. Though if you are gonna run facebook ads, use the power editor. It gives you lots more functionality around targeting and ad creatives.


Some other worthwhile marketing tools which could help accelerate your marketing are...


Sumome which is a completely free tool that you can add to your website to generate more leads via popups and welcome mats.


PLR Products. PLR stands for private label rights. These are information products which you can buy and resell in your own business. Usually the quality of the information is not strong enough to sell. However I recommend using them to form the basis of a product you create yourself that you can either sell or more commonly use to attract leads in your business.



Udemy.com is an online education platform where you can access high quality courses on a wide variety of topics.


Bensettle.com newsletter. If you want to learn how to write email which turns leads into customers fast, check out Ben’s newsletter…the best in the world at what he does.


Psychotactics.com. How to you use persuasive language (copywriting) on your website, emails and marketing literature to encourage users to take action. Probably one of the most important skills you can learn for your business. One of the world’s best teachers of fluff free copywriting is Sean D’Souza. Find his material at pshycotactics.com


The Brain Audit Book. Essential reading if you want to know why your customers buy or not.


The Fitness Business Experience. If you want to learn how to grow your fitness business from expert fitpros, check out Greg Bradley’s awesome podcast.


Digitalmarketer.com. Everything you need to know about online marketing along with what’s working right now. Ryan Deiss and his team have created a massive library of content for you to cut your teeth on. Just make sure to apply what you learn.


Online Resources - Various

After years of building fitness websites I have put together the "Top 7 Online Secrets" used by the most successful fitness professionals. You can download the book today for free.

I specialise in building "lead generation" websites for fitness professionals.

The kind of ones which create an automatic flow of new members and clients into your club or fitness studio.

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